DGI Executive Insights Interview with DC Central Kitchen Chief Development Officer Alexander Moore

Alexander Moore, Chief Development Officer, DC Central Kitchen

  1. How long have you been at DC Central Kitchen and what do you do there?

I first joined DC Central Kitchen as an undergraduate intern in the spring of 2006. In my junior year of college, I reluctantly took a proposal writing class, and was assigned what I have to imagine is the world’s most profane nonprofit management textbook – Begging for Change by Robert Egger. The book described Robert’s experience launching DC Central Kitchen, a ferociously contrarian, fiercely principled nonprofit dedicated to turning the traditional soup kitchen model on its head. I told myself “I have to meet this nightclub manager-turned-nonprofit visionary,” so I sent him a cold email. A few weeks later, I was sitting down to a makeshift desk (it was a bookshelf) in the basement of a homeless shelter as the organization’s first grant writing intern.

Once you’ve been in that basement kitchen, it’s hard not to fall in love with this organization. I spent a few years kicking around graduate school trying to find something that inspired me as much as the win/win scenario offered by an organization that not only provided nutritious, dignified food to people who needed it, but also took on the root causes of hunger through job training, social entrepreneurship, and the fearlessly innovative use of every resource at its disposal, whether it was leftover food or skeptical teenage volunteers. I never found a more compelling solution to the pressing problem of poverty in the depths of the recession, so I jumped at the chance to come back as a full-time employee in 2010. In the years since, the organization has taken one chance on me after another, ultimately making me its Chief Development Officer in 2014 when I was 28 years old. I now work with an amazing team of development professionals and guide the organization’s fundraising, external relations, and government relations activities.

  1. What is the hottest topic being discussed at DC Central Kitchen?

This is a hard one to answer in these complex times, but I’d have to say our team has been generating a ton of energy – and exciting ideas – for better serving Opportunity Youth. If you’re not familiar with that term, it refers to young people, usually ages 16 to 24, who are not in school and not working. Youth who aren’t engaged in work or school are disproportionately at risk for a host of challenges, in the short- and long-term, at great cost to themselves and our community as a whole. Unfortunately, DC is just one of two jurisdictions in the entire country where the rate of youth disconnection is going up, not down.

For three decades, DC Central Kitchen’s Culinary Job Training program has empowered adult people who have experienced homelessness, incarceration, addiction, and trauma to embark on meaningful careers in our city’s thriving hospitality industry. As a result, we’ve become widely known as a ‘second chance’ program that helps our neighbors facing painfully high barriers to employment re-enter the workforce. But what if we could become engaged in people’s lives before these challenges became so severe, and could help them establish themselves in the industry earlier on?

That type of question is why we’re so excited to begin working with Opportunity Youth in a more ambitious and focused way. Later this year, we’re going to launch a new cafe and youth job training center on the campus of THEARC in Ward 8, with the goal of equipping young people who have become disconnected from work and school with the right mix of culinary skills, customer service experience, self-confidence, and industry-recognized credentials to enter the hospitality field and stay on track. That’s no easy task – if it were, more programs like this would already exist – but we’re drawing on 30 years of our own experience and national best practices to launch this youth-led cafe and bring both an effective training program and meaningful community amenity to our community.

  1. What will organizations like DC Central Kitchen be confronted with the next 3-5 years from a technology perspective– what opportunities/hurdles (especially with respect to Robots, chatbots, Artificial Intelligence, etc.)?

The nonprofit sector is struggling to keep up with the rapidly developing world of technology, especially organizations working to provide direct services to our most marginalized and under-resourced neighbors. The type of infrastructure, expert staffing, and ongoing training required to stay current are often viewed as luxury goods in our line of work, and relatively few donors are willing to support the types of investments that allow nonprofits to keep up. DC Central Kitchen has been fortunate to have some very forward-thinking supporters that allowed us to develop a Salesforce-based CRM system to manage our external relationships and build out a robust performance management capacity with a tool called Apricot that’s allowed us to create a culture of data-driven decision-making – but we’re the exception not the rule.

Looking more systemically, I think it’s safe to say that most nonprofits in the field of workforce development are going to be downstream of some major changes in the types of industries we’re currently training participants to enter. As creative as we might be on the front lines, we’re going to need some visionary strategic leadership at the Federal, state, regional, and local levels in terms of setting workforce system priorities and allocating the types of resources needed to help unemployed folks enter the job market, provide incumbent worker training, and deliver training and credentials that help people keep advancing in their careers at a time when wages are stagnant and entry-level jobs are being eliminated by some of these technological ‘solutions.’ Call me old school, but I’ve always believed that the gains from new innovations and efficiencies should be used to address the needs of those who lose out on those changes, and we need to be way more intentional about investing in proactive and creative workforce development if we’re going to ensure that our technological progress doesn’t undermine the ability of many Americans to support themselves and their families.

  1. What is your funniest/fondest memory/What are you most proud of during your time at DC Central Kitchen?

I’m proudest of our work as a principled, mission-driven job creator. When I joined DC Central Kitchen as an intern, our organization consisted of about 45 folks, all working in the basement of a shelter. Today, we’re 185 people strong, 84 of whom are graduates of our Culinary Job Training program. We provide full-time hours, start everyone at $14.50 an hour or better, pay 100% of everyone’s health insurance, and match 100% of retirement contributions up to 4% of salary. That’s pretty impressive for a ‘basement charity’ – and it’s possible because unlike a traditional charity, we earn 60% of our annual income through social enterprise activities like serving locally sourced school meals or catering corporate events. That makes us more flexible and sustainable than a hand-to-mouth fundraising operation, and it means that every dollar we receive in donations, we more than match in money we earn ourselves. 

  1.    What are your top three recommendations for young people entering philanthropy/fundraising today?

First, don’t be a fundraiser. I’m not. I’m a devoted advocate for DC Central Kitchen’s mission and programs, and that advocacy sometimes involves creating opportunities for people to support us financially. I don’t think hopping from one organization to another in search of the right fundraising role is the way to succeed in this field. I think it’s really about finding a mission that feels like an extension of your most strongly held values and waking up every day wanting to help other people learn to love that mission the way you do.

Second, no one should ever wait 24 hours for a response from you, unless you have a detailed out-of-office indicating when they should expect that response. I’m no stranger to having my own emails ignored, but that’s all the more reason to provide outstanding customer service to everyone you interact with, whether they’re a high-powered executive, a foundation director, or an aspiring undergraduate intern. If Robert Egger hadn’t taken my email seriously 12 years ago, I wouldn’t be here today, and the respect he showed me set the tone for how I wanted to behave as a professional – and pay it forward.

Third, the best words you can ever say are ‘Thank You.’ We owe a huge thanks to Mike Smoyer and the DGI team, who have been so incredibly generous with us over the years. Since we became a charitable partner of DGI and the 930gov conference, this annual event has raised thousands of dollars for our programs – allowing us to continue meeting the most pressing needs of our community. So to everyone involved in organizing and attending 930gov – thank you!

DC Central Kitchen’s Website: https://dccentralkitchen.org/



Where IT comes together – an Interdisciplinary Approach to Learning

Mike Smoyer

Mike Smoyer

While there are numerous professional development opportunities for government employees, most are specialized, focusing on single issues such as Cyber, Customer Experience, Records/Information Management, Data Management, Cloud, IT Modernization etc. The unfortunate trend the past decade, many Government professionals are only authorized to attend events within their discipline or “swim lane” (e.g., Records professionals can attend EDRM events; IT Security professionals can attend Cyber, etc.). Over the years, many Digital Government Institute Education Advisory Committee members remarked: “if only we could get all stakeholders in the room to discuss the issue and its potential impact on the Agency/respective Departments, we would be better off.”

Collaboration and Leadership are required to solve complex problems. Successful entities form interdisciplinary teams from the ground up, focusing on a specific problem, and then will use all the available assets of the organization to attack it. When knowledge is kept within disciplinary compartments, solving complex problems that require more than one area of expertise are difficult to resolve.

In my humble opinion, if the public sector is to effectively modernize to meet citizen needs/confront national security threats, it needs to restructure human capital policies and procedures. Federal CIO Suzette Kent recently laid out what she sees as the requirements for the modern CIO: “accountability, authority, and an expanded skill set not seen in the past.” Her vision is to align more closely with the business side of federal agencies: “CIOs are expected not only to have technology skills, but they have to be leaders, and they have a broad set of management capabilities.”

Organizations providing learning opportunities for the public sector can help. The number of events providing the opportunity for government attendees to network/learn from multiple communities of interest are limited. In decades past large government trade shows covered all important issues of the day allowing attendees to map out an education program to broaden their respective skill sets. For decades, Government espoused how important it is to train and develop a workforce capable of meeting the challenges of the future, but when it comes to filling the training gap, it has come up short. 

Six years ago, Digital Government Institute created 930gov – a conference and tradeshow with five concurrent conferences with a unified exhibit floor allowing attendees to mix and match sessions to align networking, educational and professional interests. Few other opportunities in DC provide such a broad array of educational offerings, all in one day, free for all government professionals to attend. Plan to register and attend on Tuesday, August 28 at the Washington Convention Center – we hope to see you there – www.930gov.com

Every month, Digital Government Institute will profile an Education Advisory Committee (“EAC”) Member. This month’s Interviewee is the Chief of the Open Source Intelligence & Analytics Team, Army G-2 for Intelligence, Victor Robles who serves on DGI’s Cyber Security EAC. We hope you join us Thursday, May 31, 2018 in Washington, DC for the 11th annual  Cyber Security Conference.

Victor Robles, CISO for Analytics, Insider Threat, and Open Source Intelligence, Army G2(DAMI-IM)

How long have you been at your Agency and what do you do there?

I serve as Chief of the Open Source Intelligence & Analytics Team, Army G-2 for Intelligence. For the last 15 years, I’ve focused on document and media exploitation, including computer forensics. We’ve evolved to include open source intelligence—the advent of Internet has greatly expanded our role. The US Army is leading the way with what it’s doing with Open Source.

What is the hottest topic being discussed at the Agency?

The hottest topics include Open Source Intelligence and the role the Army plays into getting into the Dark Web to help enable intelligence disciplines—integrating more and more with cyber. With respect to cyber, asymmetrical adversaries are using social media and computer networks for their command and control and information operations campaign, we help the community understand implications of publicly available information and social media exploitation.    

What will people at your Agency be confronted with the next 3-5 years– what opportunities/hurdles (especially with respect to Robots, chatbots, Artificial Intelligence, etc.)?

We are at the tipping point for the next evolution in Open Source Intelligence described by environmental terms such as Big Data, Data Science, and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Our future will be impacted by AI—that derivative of AI—machine learning—enables us to perform predictive analysis. This environment is an unfathomably large, yet proven, source of information containing immense intelligence value. We are making efforts to better integrate with the science and technology communities that relate to AI. Rapid improvements in technology enable populations and nation states with an increasingly more powerful means to share, manipulate, and generate publicly available information. The National Open Source Committee and Defense Open Source Council offer the intelligence and defense communities an enterprise solution by providing tools, training and promoting information sharing.

Our biggest hurdle is making sure everyone is working in an integrated way to use AI.

What is your funniest/fondest memory/What are you most proud of during your government service?

The brotherhood created by shared experiences, in wartime, creates a unique bond. This bond, as well as enduring memories, present themselves throughout a person’s government service career especially when deployed. My fondest memory was when I was deployed being able to bring technology into theatre that allowed us to save lives based on intelligence we collected and shared across the force.

What are your top three recommendations for others entering the discipline within government?

  • Ensure you have proper education and certifications for cyber, intelligence, etc.
  • If you desire to be in the Intelligence field, ensure you “keep your nose clean”
  • Make sure you have a passion for the work—that will drive you to seek additional knowledge and help the community grow


One of the great challenges faced by operators of any network is the ability to have confidence in their systems’ access management. Without truly trusted identities, systems, and the information contained, cannot be trusted and leave agencies vulnerable.  With Government’s enormous level of complexity of the IT ecosystem and budget processes, both are challenged with ID management issues.  Identity, Access Management and Digital Trust are fundamental to any Information Governance Framework given its importance to security, as well as its (potential positive financial) impact on electronic discovery costs. End-to-end information management must be married to end-to-end employee management to address Insider Threats with “employee” defined as anybody given access to any system, device and/or information asset.


In a recent Market Connections survey sponsored by Unisys, survey respondents said external threats, mobile device use, and vulnerability patching were the areas of greatest concern in their respective agencies. Agencies are confronting these challenges via smart cards, endpoint security software, configuration management software, Network Access Control (NAC) solutions and more.  Nearly two-thirds of the respondents felt identity management systems are very important to secure operations of their agencies.


The proliferation of connected devices, adoption of cloud computing, and digitalization—individually and collectively— are also challenging those responsible for Identity and Access Management to find solutions in a rapidly changing and evolving technology landscape.  Government IT leaders need to ensure their Identity and Access Management teams are enabled to take advantage of the latest technological advances. 


In the last few years, just about everyone has come to appreciate the importance of having strong cybersecurity.  Confronting these ever-changing threats with limited budgets and in some cases very outdated information systems, will keep many Government leaders awake at night.  NIST’s Trusted Identities Group’s efforts are providing leadership and guidance everyone in government can leverage to improve their cyber risk posture.   To truly achieve Digital Trust, it will take government and industry support and enforcement of strict Identity and Access Management compliance. Our confidence in government depends on it.

Magistrate Judge Elizabeth LaPorteThe Honorable Elizabeth Laporte Latest Judge to Present at DGI

Over the years, Digital Government Institute (“DGI”) has had the privilege to hear from a variety of luminaries from the Judiciary, including Judges Facciola, Lamberth, Peck and Francis. DGI is delighted that United States Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte from the Northern District of California[1] will be participating (March 22nd) in its 15th Annual E-Discovery & Records and Information Management Conference.

Appointed in April 1998, Judge Laporte presides over civil (patent, trademark, copyright,[2] business litigation, employment, civil rights, etc.) and criminal cases.  Judge Laporte has participated in dozens of educational programs, worldwide, regarding patent litigation, e-discovery, jury trials, etc. and is considered one of the top judges in the country with respect to e-discovery.

Even before the (December) 2015 updates to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,[3] Judge Laporte expected “parties to take responsibility for efficient discovery. She reflected [at a LegalTech event] that justice cannot be carried out if litigation is too costly, and most discovery occurs outside the supervision of the court.”[4]  Shortly after the Rules Amendments took effect, she emphasized “parties’ duties to cooperate under Rule 1 to ensure the just, speedy and inexpensive determination of every case, and to achieve proportionate discovery under Rule 26 that facilitates a just determination on the merits.“[5] The Northern District of California E-Discovery (ESI) Guidelines & Checklist[6] cover, inter alia, Cooperation, Discovery Proportionality, Preservation, Meet and Confer, etc. Guideline 3.01 (Judicial Expectations of Counsel) details what Counsel should be familiar with, to wit, discovery provisions of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, The Advisory Committee Report on the 2015 Amendments, the Court’s Guidelines, as well as the Court’s Checklist.[7]


The hottest topics in E-Discovery are Preservation, Proportionality and Technology Assisted Review (and other applications of machine learning and artificial intelligence to large data sets). Preservation of Electronically Stored Information (“ESI”) has always been challenging (for both the private and public sectors) due to the rapid proliferation of technology, communication channels and data itself. Government is obligated to manage/produce its ESI (including within the FOIA context) in the same way the private sector is (sometimes, with fewer resources). Records and Information Management is foundational to enabling the Legal Office of Agencies and other government entities to meet its litigation, investigation and FOIA obligations (and to do so in a timely manner). Join DGI March 22nd to learn more about these topics, including during the Fireside Chat with Judge Laporte.

[1] http://www.cand.uscourts.gov/edlbio.

[2] The work Judge Laporte and former US District Judge Martin Jenkins did defining the boundaries of property rights and contractual rights in the licensing of digital works was so important, they are credited with the “Jenkins-Laporte doctrine.” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jenkins–Laporte_doctrine.

[3] Summary of December 2015 Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (December 7, 2015) https://www.orrick.com/Insights/2015/12/Summary-of-December-2015-Amendments-to-the-Federal-Rules-of-Civil-Procedure.

[4] Tara Emory, What the Judges Said: Top 10 Takeaways from LegalTech Judges Panel DRIVEN http://www.driven-inc.com/what-the-judges-said-top-10-takeaways-from-legal-tech-judges-panel/.

[5] Monica Bay, The Circuit: Legaltech New York 2016 ABOVE THE LAW (January 20, 2016) https://abovethelaw.com/2016/01/the-circuit-legaltech-new-york-2016/

[6] http://www.cand.uscourts.gov/eDiscoveryGuidelines

[7] Ibid.

Every month, Digital Government Institute will profile an Education Advisory Committee (“EAC”) Member. This month’s Interviewee is HHS OIG Chief Information Officer, Chris Chilbert who serves on DGI’s Enterprise Architecture EAC. We hope you join us Thursday, April 26, 2018 in Washington, DC for the 17th annual  Enterprise Architecture Conference.

Chris Chilbert serves as the Chief Information Officer of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG). He leads OIG’s efforts to employ modern technology and practices to fight waste, fraud, and abuse in federal healthcare spending. While at OIG, he has overseen the modernization of legacy networking, computing, mobile, and software infrastructure in support of the agency’s mission. Prior to joining HHS, Chris led the enterprise architecture program at the Department of Homeland Security, spent several years as a management consultant, and served as an officer in the navy’s submarine force. Mr. Chilbert holds a Bachelor of Science in Systems Engineering from the United States Naval Academy and a Masters in Business Administration from the College of William and Mary. He was named a 2015 Fed 100 by FCW, as well as a GovTransformer “for being a federal IT leader who can translate complex IT challenges into mission success.” 


How long have you been at your Agency and what do you do there?

I have been at HHS OIG just over 2 years (since December 2015). My job is to fight waste, fraud, and abuse in the trillion dollar federal healthcare portfolio and protect federal healthcare beneficiaries.   I lead our efforts to employ technology to enable law enforcement, audit, evaluation, and legal operations in pursuit of this mission.  Our goals are to securely put data at our employees’ fingertips when and where they need it and to run a world class IT operation.

What is the hottest topic being discussed at the Agency?

There are two pressing issues for HHS OIG. The first is to protect Medicare/Medicaid beneficiaries from prescription drug abuse (i.e., addressing part of the country’s opioid addiction challenge).  We use advanced data analytics tools and techniques to identify anomalies in prescribing drugs and support our law enforcement officers in the field. The second pressing issue is to curb waste, fraud and abuse in Medicaid programs.  We do this by collaborating with each state’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and analyzing each state’s claims data.  Getting access to this data is a top priority, and we have made significant progress by working closely with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

What will people at your Agency be confronted with the next 3-5 years– what opportunities/hurdles (especially with respect to Robots, chatbots, Artificial Intelligence, etc.)?

We will need to continue to maintain a secure, robust infrastructure to support our oversight mission.  HHS OIG is a Law Enforcement agency, Audit Firm (auditing a $1Trillion portfolio), healthcare think tank, and law firm. Each of these functions is supported by data analysis and various software applications.  Some applications are more than a decade old and need to be modernized.  We are aggressively adopting innovative technologies such as cloud computing and open source software as we replace purpose-built, siloed applications with software platforms that can support multiple business functions. We are using agile management practices such as DevOps to systematically build out that robust infrastructure taking an enterprise perspective with each new capability we deploy. We also plan to begin exploring machine learning and AI to further enable our mission. There may also be opportunities to automate some fairly rote back office processes (perhaps using digital robots in the procurement process to be more efficient).

What is your funniest/fondest memory/What are you most proud of during your government service?

My fondest memories are from when I did things that had a big impact. Putting smartphones in the hands of everyone in the IG Department has had important positive impact. In one instance, the ability to leverage search capabilities in real time resulted in arrest (e.g., enabling an Agent to access a Driver License database and then text photo to local Law Enforcement to apprehend the criminal who was on the run and no physical description was readily available).

What are your top three recommendations for others entering the discipline within government?

  1. Have humility- we must remember we serve the citizens of the country. For the time we serve, we need to keep in mind those who came before us and those who will come after us.  While in government, we are stewards of the public trust.
  2. Be Bold- we face large problems and you cannot make an impact unless you take bold action—you have to take risks and take on big things.
  3. Need to be patient and persistent- never stop doing things the right way; always continue to push to make change and stick it out. Change only happens when we have the will to persevere.



As a son of a retailer from Allentown, PA, I witnessed firsthand the importance of providing excellent customer service.  It was fundamental to business success especially with a rapidly changing competitive landscape. Rapidly evolving technology continues to hand consumers growing power to choose how and where to buy products and services, pushing customer expectations for superior service ever higher. 


Federal, State and Local governments are being called upon to provide more-responsive service, improved collaboration, increased transparency, and more-proactive efforts to improve customer satisfaction.  On the Federal level, virtually all previous administrations mentioned the importance of improving government service.  Some accomplished great things, some made major improvements, some talked about it, some had minimal impact.  The ongoing government challenge is to have the capability to provide similar quality of customer service on par with what citizens encounter in the private sector.    


The foundational premise of government is to serve the citizens.  Over the past twenty years, DGI’s coverage of the topic took many forms and aligned with the government solution focus of the time.  In 1998, eGovernment was the ‘hot’ topic of the day and DGI produced educational programming focused on government websites delivering service to citizens. 


Early in the new decade, the focus evolved into Customer Relations Management issues with transitional guidance coming from the Educational Advisory Committee members.  This evolved into focusing on the role, capabilities and importance of government Contact Centers which lead to the management and oversight of multi-channel service capabilities.  In 2007, working with the Educational Advisory Committee, DGI changed the name of the annual event to the Government Customer Service Conference.  As the topic evolves, so does the educational focus of the programming.  The focus the last two years was Customer Experience (CX). 


Digital Government Institute looks forward to delivering a platform to gather the service excellence community to discuss the policy, technology, and applications to improve government customer service for the next 20 years and beyond.

FISMA History

The Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) was enacted in 2002 as part of the E-Government Act of 2002.  The purpose of this legislation was to spotlight the importance of information security to the security interests of the country.  The Act requires each federal agency to develop, document and implement an agency-wide program to provide IT security for the information systems supporting the operations and assets of the agency including those provided by contractors.  Since 2009, Digital Government Institute has provided FISMA training seminars 2-3 times per year.


There has never been a time when security has been more important; to not just government, but society itself. In our data-driven, globally connected world, economic security is national security. Government performs multiple functions and in doing so, must appropriately protect its systems and data. It must also work with the private sector in critical infrastructure sectors. Given the incredible rate of technological advances and the consumerization of IT, government is struggling to keep up.


One security professional who has lived through decades of IT/Security evolution is Jim Litchko. Throughout his career, including time spent in the Navy and at NSA, as well as working in the private sector (now as a renowned consultant), he has always been on the cutting edge. Mr. Litchko created (and taught) the first graduate computer security course at Johns Hopkins. A few times each year, he leaves his home in sunny Portugal and heads to DC to share his expertise with attendees at DGI-sponsored FISMA training.  Mr. Litchko’s goal is to decrease the complexity of security. Given the number of returning attendees, he must be achieving that goal. The training classes include students new to the subject as well as those with 30+ years of experience.

Important Documents

Two important documents covered in the course are NIST Special Publication 800-53 Rev. 5 (Draft) Security and Privacy Controls for Information Systems and Organizations[1] and NIST Special Publication 800-37 Rev. 2 (Draft) Risk Management Framework for Information Systems Organizations: A System Life Cycle Approach for Security and Privacy (Discussion Draft)[2]—both of which have their next iterations delayed “due to the full integration of privacy-related material”[3] still being in process.[4] He uses the NIST Cybersecurity Framework[5] as an outline for preparing System Security Plans. He prefers one document for Operations and Security—a Security Operations Plan; reasoning that they have the same goals and people should recognize the connection. The course will also cover Metrics,[6] relevant Frameworks (e.g., Risk Management Framework, System Development Life Cycle, System Security Engineering Framework, etc.), DHS activities (e.g., Automation such as Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation,[7] as well as Trusted Internet Connections), and Cloud Computing Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program—FedRAMP.


The course has been offered for nine years.  The materials are regularly refreshed and guest speakers from NIST and DHS provide the latest . Last year’s Cybersecurity Executive Order seemed to provide a key ingredient previously missing—accountability at the Executive level within an Agency. Time will tell whether security has improved as result of that enticement. Agency reports are due to Congress and the Government Accountability Office by March 1, 2018.[8]


For more information, visit www.digitalgovernment.com

[1] https://csrc.nist.gov/publications/detail/sp/800-53/rev-5/draft.

[2] https://csrc.nist.gov/publications/detail/sp/800-37/rev-2/draft.

[3]Planning Note (1/8/2018): Due to the full integration of privacy-related material into key NIST publications such as SP 800-37 and SP 800-53, the original production schedule has been delayed.  NIST will be working with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to establish a new schedule of deliverables for all publications undergoing updates and will publish that schedule as soon as it is available.” https://csrc.nist.gov/publications/detail/sp/800-53/rev-5/draft; https://csrc.nist.gov/publications/detail/sp/800-37/rev-2/draft.    

[4] Planning Note from January 8, 2018 had not been updated as of February 7, 2018.

[5] https://www.nist.gov/cyberframework/draft-version-11.

[6] FY 2018 CIO FISMA Metrics Version 1.0 31 October 2017 https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/FY%202018%20CIO%20FISMA%20Metrics_V1_Final%20508.pdf.

[7] https://www.dhs.gov/cdm.

[8] M-18-02 MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEAADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES Fiscal Year 2017-2018 Guidance on Federal Information Security and Privacy Management Requirements (October 16, 2017) https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/omb/memoranda/2017/M-18-02%20%28final%29.pdf.

Every month, Digital Government Institute will profile an Education Advisory Committee (“EAC”) Member. DGI’s Inaugural Interviewee is FTC’s David Shonka who serves on DGI’s E-Discovery, Records & Information Management EAC. We hope you join us Thursday, March 22, 2018 in Washington, DC for the 15th annual E-Discovery, Records and Information Management Conference.

Executive Insight: David C. Shonka, Acting General Counsel, Federal Trade Commission

David C. Shonka has been the Acting General Counsel of the Federal Trade Commission since March 2016. He has served in that position twice previously (January – June 2009 and October 2012 – June 2013). The FTC’s General Counsel is the agency’s chief law officer and adviser.  He is also the agency’s Principal Deputy General Counsel. In both roles, Mr. Shonka provides legal services that cover the full range of the Commission’s activities, from appellate litigation to internal operations, including counseling on legislation, ethics, and administrative matters.  He has also personally represented the Commission in numerous district court and appellate proceedings.

Mr. Shonka is a member of the Administrative Conference of the United States, where he serves on the ACUS Committee on Judicial Review and the Council of Independent Regulatory Agencies; and he is an active member of the Sedona Conference, where he serves on the Steering Committee for Working Group 6 (cross-border transfers of data), has served on the Steering Committee for Working Group 1 (e-discovery and electronic records), and participates in projects for Working Group 11 (privacy and data security). He also speaks frequently on issues relating to privacy, data security, cross-border transfers of information, e-discovery, government investigations, and other regulatory matters. In 2015, Mr. Shonka received the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive, one of the highest honors available to members of the Senior Executive Service.

How long have you been at your Agency and what do you do there?

I joined the Federal Trade Commission in February 1977 –so going on 41 years. I am the Acting General Counsel and have oversight of a legal office of about 50 people who defend the Agency and provide legal advice to the Commission. In describing our office to prospects, I say we are 3% of the budget and 5% of the personnel doing 100% of the work.

What is the hottest topic being discussed at the Agency?

FTC has a sweeping mandate within our two mains areas: competition and consumer protection. From my personal perspective, I think the hottest competition issues concern healthcare, pending mergers of all sorts, pharma, and Intellectual Property. On the consumer protection side, I think all of them are interesting, but personally tend to get most excited about data security and privacy and related matters.

What will people at your Agency be confronted with the next 3-5 years– what opportunities/hurdles (especially with respect to Robots, chatbots, Artificial Intelligence, etc.)?

I think our hurdles will be harnessing technology within the confines of limited budget and resources. The greatest opportunity with respect to technology (Data Analytics, Technology Assisted Review, Artificial Intelligence) lies in its ability to improve efficiencies and provide better workflow and security. 

What is your funniest/fondest memory/What are you most proud of during your government service?

My fondest memories are of those times when a small group would be working intensely on a case (long hours, nights and weekends) and would produce a quality product. Contrary to what many people seem to think, the government isn’t a gigantic monolith—very often, it is out-resourced by the other side. A former colleague of mine said it well when he commented (more than once) about the pride he felt in being able to stand up in a federal court and say that he was there on behalf of the people of the United States.

What are your top three recommendations for others entering the discipline within government?

  1. Always look around for unmet needs—my own involvement in e-discovery and security are examples of this. A privilege issue I was asked to look into spurred more involvement in e-discovery, which was becoming very important at that time. Later, when the 2006 Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure were about to take effect, I (and many others in the Agency) thought it critical that all of our attorneys take a consistent approach to e-discovery in the scores of cases that we have pending at any one time. We organized ourselves to make sure that happened.
  2. Own and correct your mistakes.
  3. No matter what, keep your eye on the ball—ask, what really matters here


Whether you are addressing record keeping by NARA, focusing agency efforts on IT Modernization, selecting Emerging Technologies for improved Citizen Services or improving IT security, one important common denominator is the need for an appropriate Information Governance schema that is holistic, cross-agency and keeps up with technological capability. Whatever Information Governance an agency has in place (and it certainly varies), there is no question it needs to continually be updated to incorporate all the ways data are being created, shared and stored.

Some recent developments/current events to factor in existing Information Governance processes include:

  • NARA’s Strategic Plan (FY 2018 – FY 2022), scheduled to be published next month, ushers in a new era of government information management. Several of the Plan’s Objectives enable change through provision of policies and processes for the transition to fully electronic recordkeeping, as well as sponsorship of a career development program to ensure proper skills.
  • The Modernizing Government Technology Act (“MGT”) signed into law last month (as part of the National Defense Authorization Act). The MGT “creates a $500 million central modernization fund for agencies to borrow against to update aging and insecure systems.
  •  The US General Services Administration hosted the Interagency Emerging Citizen Technologies Meeting December 2017. The plan is to create a Pilot training and education program around the discussed emerging technologies and target high-need communities including Data Stewards, Contracting Officers and Non-Technical Program Managers.
  • On January 3, 2018, almost a quarter million people received notification letters from the US Department of Homeland Security about a potential privacy incident related to the DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) Case Management System.

Modernizing Information Governance means coordination and collaboration with multiple agency stakeholders — to include but not limited to Information Technology, Records Management, Privacy, Security, Data Analytics, Legal, Compliance and, of course, the relevant “Business Owners” who ultimately “own” the data and are responsible for it throughout its lifecycle. This level of cooperation and integration of strategies and implementations is no small feat.

In today’s hyper-connected, always-on world, the ability to access and or create information anytime and from anywhere is the new normal.  Agencies will need to ensure they leverage Information Governance best practices to create efficiencies and to protect government data, which includes citizen data. Information Governance, and its attendant rigor in full lifecycle management, will be critical to delivery of citizen services as well as our national security and competitiveness.

Visit www.digitalgovernment.com to register for webinars and events covering this important topic.